Pieces of a Woman (2020) Movie Review

Pieces of a Woman – Kirby is Sensational

Director: Kornel Mundruczo

Writer: Kata Weber, Ansuman Bhagat (Screenplay)

Starring: Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, Ellen Burstyn, Iliza Shlesinger, Benny Safdie, Sarah Snook, Molly Parker

Plot: When a young mother’s home birth ends in unfathomable tragedy, she begins a year-long odyssey of mourning that fractures relationships with loved ones in this deeply personal story of a woman learning to live alongside her loss.

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Pieces of a Woman starts as we meet Martha (Kirby) and Sean (LaBeouf) who are expecting their first child together. With the homebirth about to take place, we see what should be a joyous occasion, turns into an unimaginable nightmare as they lose the baby moments after she is born.

Martha finds herself becoming distant from the world, looking to do whatever she can to move on from what happened, while Sean leads Martha’s mother Elizabeth (Burstyn) in a court case against the midwife, keep bringing up the memories of the tragic day.

Thoughts on Pieces of a Woman

Characters & Performances – Martha is the expecting mother, expecting to have the greatest moment of her life, the brief moment of joy is taken from her though, putting her in position no one would ever want to be near, losing a baby. Martha finds her own way to grief this, by becoming colder, trying to move on with her life the best way she could find, she is doing this alone, despite people around her knowing she needs them, her reluctance to find help sees her explosion being more powerful, as her decisions are always for the best. Vanessa Kirby has come along way from the scene stealing performances in the early seasons of The Crown to give what can only be described as the best performance of the year. Sean is the partner who works in construction, he has followed the wishes of Martha, but after they lose their baby, he starts to find himself heading down the criminal court case, breaking down in private, falling off the wagon falling for his addictions. Shia LaBeouf does give us a wonderful supporting role where he can show the pain in a different way to Kirby. Elizabeth is Martha’s mother that wants to help her and see her express the pain she has been through, she wants answers and feels like her daughter is grieving without her support. Ellen Burstyn gets the brilliance in the support role, which will see her shining in her scenes, which will bring the bigger emotionally driven scenes to life.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that suffer the tragedy of losing a baby at childbirth and go in different directions to try and overcome the grief they have suffered. This is a powerful story that shows the true heartbreak a couple would suffer from losing a baby, how everyone will look to overcome this in different ways and how it will change somebody forever. We have a sequence in the story that shows the childbirth, which is around 25 minutes long, filmed like a single take, which shows all the stress and the emotional carnage that is left behind once it is all over. We do get to see a darker side to everything, with how the court case is bought up, which does seem unfair, but is solved in the best way.

ThemesPieces of a Woman is a powerful drama, that focuses on the life of the couple in the aftermath, we get the construction of a bridge to help show the time lapse going on, with each new stage focusing on that more than anything else.

Pieces of a Woman is a powerful drama that is going to leave most people an emotional wreck.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) Movie Review

Director: Eliza Hittman

Writer: Eliza Hittman (Screenplay)

Starring: Taila Ryder, Sidney Flanigan, Ryan Eggold, Sharon Van Etten

Plot: A pair of teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania travel to New York City to seek out medical help after an unintended pregnancy.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Never Rarely Sometimes Always starts as we meet high school student Autumn (Flanigan) who finds herself learning that she is pregnant, knowing she won’t get much support out of her family, she turns to a local clinic and the internet for options, looking at her own ways out, before her best friend and cousin Skylar (Ryder) agrees to help her by taking her to New York for a solution, all the way leaving Autumn to make the most difficult decision of her young life.

Thoughts on Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Characters – Autumn is a quiet high school student, working in a grocery store, while not always feeling welcome at home, which becomes more difficult for her when she learns she is pregnant, she doesn’t know who to turn to, trying to solve the problem herself, before her best friend joins her on a journey to find a solution. She is given a decision no one her age should be put through, keeping her own pain inside even from her own cousin and best friend. Skylar is the best friend and cousin, she will support Autumn on her every decision, stick up for her when people might be taking advantage of her and find a way to make sure she gets the help she needs.

PerformancesSidney Flanigan gives us one of the best performances of the year here, she keeps her character grounded, hiding emotions and when things are released, you feel the impact they make on her being able to release the pain. Talia Ryder is excellent in the supporting role, showing the support, while not giving us a role that requires her being overly friendly, knowing the level of support her friend needs.

StoryThe story here follows a high school girl that learns she is pregnant and doesn’t know who to turn to, before joining her best friend on a trip to New York to find a solution, without the rest of her family needing to know the truth. This is an excellent story that will show the difficult decisions a teenager might go through with an unplanned pregnancy, showing us how they will want to keep it away from people, do thing they wouldn’t want to, in an attempt to stop it and shows the support is there from strangers who will offer the options and understand the choices. There are some very difficult scenes to watch that show us just how difficult everything is for Autumn and by the end of the film, you will be left broken by her ordeal and decision.

SettingsThe film does show us how a small town doesn’t always give the best advice, while the big city will offer the help required to anyone in need of it.

Scene of the Movie – Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always, what an uncomfortable scene.

Final Thoughts Never Rarely Sometimes Always is one of the films of the year, one that will give us outstanding performances and direction, leaving us broken by the end.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2020 – G – The Goldfinch (2019) Movie Thoughts

Director: John Crowley

Writer: Peter Straughan (Screenplay) Donna Tartt (Novel)

Starring: Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson

Plot: A boy in New York is taken in by a wealthy Upper East Side family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tagline – The Story of a Stolen Life
Runtime: 2 Hours 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Bland

Story: The Goldfinch starts when Theo Decker (Fegley) loses his mother in an explosion, leaving him nobody in his life, he suggests the Barbour household, Mother (Kidman) to take him in, a wealthy family on the upper east side of Manhattan, until his estranged father Larry (Wilson) and his new girlfriend Xandra (Paulson) in the middle of nowhere.

When Theo (Elgort) grows up, he returns to Hobie (Wright) to work with in in art dealing, which brings him back to his younger life with and friendship with Boris (Wolfhard).

Thoughts on The Goldfinch

Final ThoughtsWell, where do we start with this one, let’s be honest, we get one of the most bland, uninspiring story that seems to spend more time trying to make us feel sorry for a young boy who lost his mother in an explosion and grew up in a life he never saw coming, becoming one of the most foremost art dealers in the city. Well nothing really seems to happen in this film, it just seems to be about what could have been, not blaming ones self for an incident out of their control and some form of iffy dealing going on. The performances aren’t bad, they just don’t seem to have much to work with, ending up being flat more than bad and by the end you will feel like you did waste your time watching this.

Overall: Slow and Dull.